In my cupboard this week, I bring to the huddled masses of Dabbler readers Maud Pastry’s recipe for alphabet soup. Within seconds of it being posted this morning, my email inbox emitted a raucous clanging noise, audible as far away as Timbuctoo – a signal that I had received a missive from the bluestocking soup maven herself. It reads as follows:
“It is a crying shame, Mr Key, that you did not seek my permission before letting those Dabbler people, whomsoever they may be, reproduce my receipt for alphabet soup. Either through neglect or mischief you omitted a crucial passage from the receipt, and I feel sorry for any reader who prepares the soup according to the bastardised version which is now so regrettably in the public domain. It occurred to me to issue a corrective as a tweet on The Dabbler’s Twitter feed, but on reflection I realised I do not even know what that means, being as I am a creature very much of the previous century, if not the one before that. I therefore insist that you air this letter on your weblog.
“Please note that when leaving the bowl to stand, and before transferring the contents to a cauldron, one should introduce into the liquid a duck, preferably a merganser or teal. The duck should be left to plash ‘n’ dabble in the bowl, as if it were a pond, for at least two hours. You should then remove the duck, gently, wearing gloves, and allow it to go on its merry way, perhaps to rejoin its family of other ducks, wherever they may be. The soup will contain a “memory” of the duck’s presence, plashing ‘n’ dabbling, and this adds a piquancy to the flavour which, though imperceptible on the palate, is such stuff as soups are made on, as the Swan of Avon (a man, not a duck) might have said.
“I shall look forward to seeing this important note appear, Mr Key. Do this in memory of me.”